Evangeline Cory Booth
– July 17
) was the 4th
of the Salvation Army
from 1934 to
born in South
Hackney, London, England, the seventh
of eight children born to William
Booth and Catherine Mumford, who
had earlier in the year founded The Christian Mission, which became
the Salvation Army in 1878.
Catherine Booth had recently
read Uncle Tom's Cabin
and wanted to name her baby 'Eva', but William Booth did not like
the name and wrote 'Evelyne' on the birth certificate. Years later, while in
States, Evelyne would be persuaded by Frances Willard, founder of the
Woman's Christian Temperance Union, to adopt the name 'Evangeline'
as being more dignified and more befitting the commander of The
Salvation Army in America.
At 15 she
was a sergeant selling the Army's paper The
War Cry in the slums of East London. In 1887, at 21 years of age, she became the
officer of the corps
in Marylebone, where there was very strong opposition to The
Wherever trouble threatened, General Booth
’s solution was invariably the
same, 'Send Eva!'.
appointed as Field Commissioner throughout Great Britain from 1888 to 1891, courageously facing riotous
From 1891 until 1896 she was in charge of Officer
Training. When in 1896 an American break-away
group led by her brother Ballington
Booth and his wife Maud
Ballington Booth attempted to tempt American Salvationists away
from The Salvation Army and into a rival group called Volunteers of America, General Booth sent Evangeline to New
When she arrived the doors to Army headquarters on
14th Street had been locked against her. However, "she mounted the
fire escape and climbed through a rear window. The dissidents
hissed and booed until she literally wrapped herself in an
available American flag and challenged: "Hiss that, if you dare."
In the stunned silence she played her concertina and sang "Over
Jordan without Fearing." Ballington's rebellion was quelled."
appointed temporary Territorial Commander of the United States, then Territorial Commander of Canada.
1904 she returned as Commander of the United States, and held this
position until 1934. In the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake,
she led a mass meeting in Union Square, New York, and raised
over $12,000 for Salvation Army relief work amongst the victims of
During this period she took US
1917, despite the differences between Commander Evangeline Booth
and US General Pershing,
the first of 250 Salvationists left New York for the front line of
the Great War in France.
soon won the confidence of the troops with their cheerful brand of
‘seven-days-a-week’ Christianity. As tributes poured in, Evangeline
protested: ‘The Salvation Army has had no new success; we have only
done an old thing in an old way.’ The American people disagreed,
and subscribed an unprecedented $13 million to clear debts incurred
by The Army, through its provision of canteens, hostels, rest rooms
during the war, and afterwards on the provision of care and
accommodation for the returning forces.
In 1927 Evangeline visited her brother, General Bramwell Booth
, with a memorandum which set
to change the way in which The Salvation Army appointed its
General. Bramwell was not convinced; he was adamant that he would
appoint his successor as his father had done before him.
In January 1929 the first High Council of The Salvation
decided otherwise, and since then the General has been
elected by the High Council, in line with Evangeline Booth’s
Evangeline Booth was elected General by the second High Council
in 1934. She
brought to the Generalship a wealth of experience in many areas of
The Army’s work but never lost the zeal and enthusiasm of the early
years. Dubbed ‘The Musician General’ by Army papers of the time,
she took great interest in the soul-winning activities of the
musical sections of The Salvation Army.
Like her father, the Founder, Evangeline extensively travelled the
world. After her election as General she toured
Britain, and in 1935 India, Ceylon, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the
United States; then, immediately upon her return, Norway and Sweden.
end of 1935 she undertook a ‘motorcade’ - the entire East Coast of
England up to
Darlington, then several Western Counties and the Thames
Valley. The following year she went on another
motorcade from Land's
End to John
O’Groats, and visited Canada, the United States and France, though by
this time she was over seventy years old.
Salvation Army’s work greatly prospered during Evangeline Booth’s
leadership, with Salvation Army activities being commenced in
Singapore, Algeria, Egypt, French
Equatorial Africa, the
Philippines, Mexico, and
Her term of office ended on October 31 1939 when Commissioner
George Lyndon Carpenter
as the Army’s fifth General. Towards the end of November,
Evangeline left Britain for her home in up-state New York, and
spent the remaining years of her life in the land which she had
served for so very many years.
She wrote several books, including Toward a Better World
Songs of the Evangel
The Salvation Army
Evangeline Booth College in Atlanta, Georgia is named after her, as is the 'The Evangeline Booth
Lodge' in Chicago which is "a haven for families and individuals
suddenly homeless because of eviction, disasters such as a fire or
flood, loss of utilities, domestic violence, being stranded while
traveling, or other crises."
Evangeline Booth lived in Hartsdale, New York, until her death at the age of 85 from arteriosclerosis. She is interred in
Kensico Cemetery, near White Plains, New York.
- Notable American Women 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary,
James, James, and Boyer Editors, The Belknap Press of Harvard
University Press, Cambridge, Mass. (1971)
-  Evangeline Booth on SAWiki
- The People's Almanac by David
Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace
-  The Salvation Army Chicago website